Friday, August 18, 2017

Home Retrofits for Increased Energy Efficiency

Lillian Connors is doing her very first guest host with Happily Ever Rushed and she has some great ideas on Retrofitting your home! Thanks Lillian for the fun post.


More and more homeowners are showing interest in decreasing the energy waste inside their homes in order to help reduce their electricity bills and do a little something to help protect our environment. Most old houses are drafty and have specific levels of insulation that simply no longer comply with the current recommended standards, resulting in a significant loss of heat and higher energy bills.
Instead of wasting money on paying energy bills, a better idea would be to invest it in making your home more energy-efficient and enjoy the long-term benefits of turning your old house into a greener, environmentally friendly home.

Perform a full energy expenditure audit

The first thing you should do before completely committing to the idea of retrofitting your house is to perform an audit of your home’s energy efficiency. This audit will allow you to determine exactly how much energy is consumed by which area of the house and, in turn, tell you exactly which parts of the house require the most work. Although you can perform an energy audit all by yourself, it is advisable to hire a professional auditor who already has the necessary qualifications and first-hand knowledge in dealing with these matters.

Seal all the air leaks

Getting rid of drafts is the first thing you should do when retrofitting a home as air leakage is one of the largest contributors when it comes to wasting energy. Loosely installed and otherwise damaged exterior doors result in massive air leaks and should, therefore, be fixed immediately. Checking for gaps and air holes in and around the exterior doors is easy enough and once you’ve located all the leaks, use weather stripping to seal them up.

Switch to energy efficient lighting

Incandescent lights consume large amounts of energy and are generally considered to be a rather inefficient lighting solution when compared to LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). They waste energy and produce far more carbon dioxide than CFL bulbs, which use a quarter of the electricity incandescent lights do while producing only a quarter of carbon dioxide pollution. Furthermore, LED and CFL bulbs last significantly longer than incandescent ones, which makes them an ideal solution for saving energy and reducing the overall electricity bill.

Double-check the insulation

Adequately installed insulation is crucial for increasing the energy efficiency of your home. The largest amount of heat escapes through poorly insulated walls and ceilings, which is a common occurrence in old houses where the insulation levels are oftentimes below the recommended minimum or have simply deteriorated over time. This means that if you wish to transform your old house into an energy-efficient home, you need to make sure that your entire home is properly insulated both on the interior and the exterior.

Dealing with windows  

Besides loose doors and inadequately insulated ceilings and walls, windows are another factor you need to consider when doing a complete retrofit. Glass is a not a potent insulator and, as such, can lead to a substantial waste of energy.
To this end, probably the most effective (and most wallet-friendly, for that matter) thing to do here is go for contemporary retrofit double glazed windows, which are installed over your current window setup instead of completely replacing every single window inside the house. Aside from improving thermal comfort, this solution also boasts considerable noise reduction properties.   
As you can see, retrofitting your home is really not that hard and with these simple and efficient tips, you can create a comfortable and energy-efficient home, decrease your existing energy bill and fight for a good cause by helping protect the environment.  

Plugging all the air leaks, installing the recommended amount of insulation, finding a more energy-efficient lighting solution and dealing with the windows are all equally important and need to be considered during the retrofit process. These are all solutions for reducing the waste of energy, but if you really wish to cut down on your electricity bill, you should consider installing a solar panel system and turn your house into a truly green home.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Some things to remember while doing Crazy Paving

Amelie is here guest hosting about some things to remember before doing some paving. Check out these great ideas! 

When you do paving on the ground with irregular pieces of stone flags, the paving is called crazy paving. Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces are pieces are asymmetrical in nature. Nowadays it has gone out of fashion. It is also called random paving. If you want to decorate your exterior place with some unique design then you can install some crazy paving and in this regard, you need to choose some well decorated paving slats and place them on your garden path.
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Things to know about crazy paving:

A lot of people think that crazy paving is cheaper than regular paving. But in reality, it is just the opposite, due to the hours spent in fitting the pieces into the puzzle. However, if it is seen from the POV of the contractor, it actually costs more. Labor costs are definitely higher when going about crazy paving.
The benefit of crazy paving is that it minimizes the amount of the mortar you will need on the surface when finishing. Mortar happens to be the structural weakness of the pavement, and it can provide better longevity that other paving. So, in this way, you can save your long-term investment and maintenance cost.

Can someone do crazy paving without help?

You can do the crazy paving with some DIY tools, but it is suggested to hire some professionals to complete this task with utmost perfection. Remember that the stones will not be available at any merchants place nowadays and you have to get in touch with some stone dealers for the raw materials.  The best stone for this purpose is sandstone. Apart from that, you can easily purchase the other required materials such as cement, sand and adhesive.
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Some DIY techniques for build up your crazy paving:

However, it is best to seek professional help when laying crazy paving. They use tools like wheelbarrows, shovels, cement mixers, hammers, string lines, pins, tape measures, gloves and chisels.  But still it is strongly recommended to hire some professionals for this job because they are trained and they can do it better then you.
  • Normally, this kind of paving is laid on hard surfaces, like concrete for example. It can also be laid on soft surfaces. If laying on a soft surface, a base will be needed and this is provided by compacted road base. The thickness of the paving stone is between 40 and 50 mm, and it varies according to amount of expected traffic.
  • Lay the paving stones on the road base. Assemble them like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  The large gaps will have to be filled in with trimmed, smaller pieces of stone. Check how it looks and take a photograph to keep a track of progress made.
  • The mortar needs to be mixed after that. It is the component that will act as an adherent for the paving stones. The ideal mix of mortar should be 3 parts of sand to 1 part of cement and it should be wet to the touch, before application.
  • The mix has to be placed under the stones, one at a time, and the stones have to be leveled after that. The mortar mix plays a vital role, and if you see rain on the horizon, which will wet the mix anyway, it is recommended to use a dry mix.
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There are many advantages of crazy paving stones. They are extremely durable and can easily handle a lot of traffic without breaking or chipping. There are many options for crazy paving stones, with different colors and you can go ahead with customization to enhance the look of your house.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tips for Designing a Compact Bathroom

Diana Smith is here on the blog today to share some ideas on Tips for Designing a Compact Bathroom. These are some great tips so enjoy.

Do you want to remodel your small bathroom or build an entirely new one from scratch? If your answer is yes, then you’re right where you need to be.
Let’s start with the most important thing – It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with a small or large space. The only thing you need to worry about is choosing a layout. A bathroom should suit your needs, not just look nice. If you start thinking about the looks instead of practicality, you’ll probably end up with a cluttered and unusable bathroom.

Pick your style
Nowadays, there’s a rich variety of modern and practical storage units, and some of those will surely fit your wishes. Take some time to think about the style that would be perfect for you. Do you want to put wooden cabinets in the bathroom, or maybe some Blade Runner-esque stainless steel cabinets? Don’t worry if it doesn’t look ‘’timeless’’. It’s your bathroom, and you should feel comfortable in it. Remember, you’re not trying to impress your guests with it, you’re designing it for yourself.

Let the light in
When it comes to small, compact bathrooms, light plays an important part. If you want your bathroom to appear bigger than it really is, don’t be afraid to install a big window. Just make sure that it is a glass block window if you value your privacy, or if you simply do not want to give your neighbor a heart attack.
When it comes to making the bathroom appear bigger, mirrors also play an important role. After all, they reflect light. However, if you’re not a big fan of mirrors, and you still want to design a bathroom that’ll look bigger, consider buying light and glossy furniture that will open up the space. Bonus tip – Add a mirrored ceiling to create a sense of height.

Add a touch of magic
Naturally, you want your small bathroom to be as simple as possible. Clean, simple, and modern designs are what you’re looking for. That, however, doesn’t mean that you cannot add a personal touch to it. Keeping patterns to a minimum and using natural, light colors is the way to go, but some people find that look a bit boring. You can improve that simplistic style with just a couple of changes.
Small things like faucets, towel hangers, and even accessories such as soap dispensers can be in different colors. Break the monotony by adding just a touch of color. However, as with everything – don’t overdo it. Too many details will make your bathroom seem cluttered.

Consult your plumber
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your bathroom is if the pipes are in bad condition. If your pipes are old, you’ll probably have to fix them before you even start working on your dream bathroom.
To avoid getting blocked drains in North Shore, or any other part of Australia for that matter (because Australia’s water is hard), consult your plumber and let the professionals clean or change the pipes in your bathroom before you start adding furniture, bathtubs, sinks and other accessories.

Installing double ended or whirlpool baths might be tempting, but in order to save some space, you’ll want to avoid that. There are many soak-worthy small tubs that will fit in your bathroom perfectly and still leave you enough space for other furniture.
Your bathroom is a place where you should feel comfortable after a long day of working. Keep it simple, but add a personal touch to it. Plan every little detail, consult your plumber before remodeling the bathroom and start working on it only when everything’s completely ready.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Best 5 Eco-Friendly Roofing Options

Lara Buck has some ideas on Eco-Friendly Roofing options. Check out some of these great ideas.

Are you planning to replace the roof of your house? If your answer is yes, then you can explore a variety of options available in the market. However, eco-friendly roofing options are getting increasingly popular these days among green builders. These eco-friendly products range from recycled metal roofs to reclaimed wood roofs. The best choice for your home largely depends on its design and your budget.

  • Recycled Shingles

Shingles are made of recycled waste components like rubber, plastic, and wooden fibre and is one of the best alternatives to consider if you are looking for an affordable and green roofing option. As a matter of fact, some of these products are obtained from the post-consumer waste. While the others, are obtained from the post-industrial waste. Recycled shingles are durable and enhance the look of your home. The great thing is that it is impossible to make out that it is made from waste material.

Recycled shingles help in diverting the waste from the landfills. Thus, there is no need to process or extract raw materials. This, in turn reduces pollution and energy consumption.

  • Recycled Rubber

Rubber has successfully made its way into the world of eco-friendly roofing. It is available in different styles and textures. It can be designed in a way to make it appear like the traditional materials such as tile, slate, and wood. It is made from recycled rubber. It is durable and is available in different colours. The commendable thing about this material is that it can withstand extremities of weather. However, ensure if rubber is permitted in your area prior to choosing them as a roofing material for your house.

  • Metal Roof

The metal used for the construction of roof is generally made from the combination of aluminium, steel, copper, or tin. Nonetheless, metals for roof construction are also made from recycled materials. Metal roofs last for several years to come.  When it doesn’t have to be replaced, you can simply recycle it. During the summer season, metal roofs reflect the sunlight instead of absorbing it. Thus, it helps in keeping the interior cool. If the attic is insulated, it will do well in cold weather. Metal roofs can be installed just above your previous roof. This reduces waste and saves you the effort as you will not have to dispose the entire asphalt roof.

  • Wood Shingles

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Eco-friendly roofing

In old times, wooden shingles were made from the old-growth trees. Nonetheless, you can now find sustainably grown cedar shingles in the market. People prefer cedar for their garden as it is resistant to insects. If your cedar roof doesn’t wear out, you can recycle it.

  • Clay or Slate Tile

Clay and slate tile is known to be natural and durable. It has a long roofing history and is a coveted material.  If you have a Spanish style home then the classic red tile will suit the best. It works wonders to enhance the look of the historic homes. It is long-lasting than metal and can be obtained in lighter colours too. Salvaged tile is considered to be the greenest option as it keeps usable tiles out of the landfills.

# Tips to Replace or Construct the Roof of Your Home

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Replace the Roof
Roofing is not an easy task as it requires to work at dangerous heights. For this, you need to have enough knowledge and skill.  Here are a few things that you need to consider prior to the roof construction or replacement.

  • There are a wide number of products and thus, it is better to compare the options that are available. Check the fire and hail rating along with the warranty.
  • You might also have to get a building permit. Make sure that your building department approves the product that you will be using.
  • Look around to find a roof constructor who is familiar with the product. Some of the products are new to the market and some roofer might not have an experience of working with them.

You need to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You will be surprised by the resource-saving solutions in the market. There are eco-friendly options that will fit every budget.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Know the Best Time for Ducted Air Conditioning Installation

Oliva Wilson has some tips on when you should install Air conditioning and the best times and tips on how to do it. Check out some great tips from Oliva.

What is the best time to install a ducted air conditioner? This is the common query of many homeowners. You have to know the right time for ducted air conditioning installation. There is nothing as perfect time but it is crucial to know the appropriate time. The installation of air conditioner is an expensive investment so you have to plan properly. The research has to be done before you shop for this appliance. The planning has to be made ahead of time where you can search on consumer websites as well as feedback forums. You can also take the help of online resources for checking the quality, service and warranty of any particular brand. The installation of air conditioners is not appropriate during summers. Instead spring is a good time to install. It is during winter and autumn that you will get some competitive deals. This is the time when you will have the choice of best installers and also will get a great deal on the product.

When is the best time for a ducted air conditioner installation?

The best time to install air conditioner is in winter. This is because the specialists are quite busy during summers and you will have fewer options to explore. The following factors need to be considered for ducted air conditioning installation:

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Ducted Air Conditioning Installation

  • If the weather is mild, the technicians have more time to work closely. You will also find them easily. You have to just make an appointment as per your convenient time. The technicians will also have extra time to advice you on the best equipment. You will have many more options like rebates, offers and maintenance program. This is an advantage as it will help you save money throughout the year.

  • The right time will be beneficial for you to choose the right system that will be perfect in size and highly efficient.

  • Winter is the perfect time for you to upgrade your system and find the better deal. You may decide to trade out the thermostat or even upgrade to zone control. this time of the year is fruitful as you don’t feel the heat and can easily allow the technician to shut off the AC for the up gradation of the system. It is quite fine with any homeowner during that weather.

Important things to be considered

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Ducted Air Conditioning Installation

  • When any homeowner builds a new house, they take many things into consideration. The two storey houses usually do not have space that is needed to accommodate in ducted air conditioning installation.

  • The air conditioning specialist has to be appointed quite early and in this way, you can save money. If you have shifted to a new house, the air conditioner can be installed without removing or re plastering.

  • Winter time is beneficial as you get time to decide where the installation can be done. You can decide the area where you will need maximum cool air during summer and warm air during winters.

  • The technicians work on the zoning and if it is done properly, then it will actually help you. The small size of the ducted air conditioner will be much more efficient.

  • The zoning will also help to cool the areas just at the touch of the button.

  • If your home is under construction or even if you are planning to build a new one, the professionals will strongly suggest for ducted air conditioning installation.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Roof Restoration and The Importance

Joseph Webb has some great ideas on restoring your roof. As we round the end of Summer and into the different seasons, make sure your roof is in tip top shape. This article will give some great ideas.

Maintaining a roof is as important as having a roof over your head. You need to ensure that this is cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. There are specific indications of the roof being damaged and getting it restored on time can save you from heavy expenses. You need to make inspecting your roof a habit. The weather elements are one major cause of your roof being damaged.  Listed are some points for roof restoration.
  1. Replace all the ridge caps and broken tiles.
  2. Rectifying leaks, once you know the source.
  3. Sealing the roof with a sealer or probably a primer.
  4. Coating the roof in a specific membrane.
Regular maintenance and restoration works of the roof has multiple advantages. All you need to do is ensure you choose the ideal company providing these services.
Life Extended:
As the saying goes, ‘nothing lasts forever’, the roof is one factor which this is applicable to. A roof can be damaged without the homeowner even realizing this. This can lead to a weak structure and one day this might even collapse. It is advisable not to wait for this calamity and get roof restoration done as and when required. Upgrading a roof is cheaper to replace it. Look for a company which uses the latest techniques and products for this restoration.
Adding Value to Your Home:
Renovation of any sort tends to increase the value of your home. You find potential buyers opting for homes which have been well maintained and looked after. This is, getting the repair work done well on time. As mentioned, most of us tend to overlook the roof and spend the rest of the renovations required.
Avoiding Messy Leaks:
A leaking roof is not only messy but can also cause structural damage to your home. The water tends to seep into the walls and weaken the same. Overlooking this problem initially can lead to major problems and you will land up spending two to three times more. A leaking roof is also unhealthy as this can lead to the growth of mildew and mold. With roof restoration, the damaged tiles are replaced and the roof is sealed in the required manner.
Energy Efficiency Increased:
A damaged roof can lead to your home getting warmer in the summer months and colder in the winters. Getting the roof checked and evaluated by professionals can eliminate the need of major repairs and can lead to a great deal of saving. Hot days can increase your expenses as you tend to put on the air-conditioner. Moreover, you can add a minimum of at least 10 years to the life of your roof with restoration.
Choosing Services of Roof Restoration:
Look for companies which are experienced in the roof restoration. Experienced professionals have the required knowledge of what is required for a specific roof and how to go about this. Reputation is another essential. You need a sturdy job to be done. This can save you from uncalled problems in the future and for this, the reputation can make all the difference.
The cost of roof restoration depends on the company chosen and also the work which needs to be done. You can search for these companies online and compare the different prices. This can help you make a choice of the company according to your requirement. Certifications and licenses also make a difference to the quality of work done. You can think of asking friends and family who have got their roof restored. Some sort of warranty for the work done is an essential to be taken into account.

About the Writer

This post is written by Joseph Webb. Joseph is an excellent blogger and philosophers, His keen observation to provide useful information which helps readers to get more ideas. He can be found on Facebook and on Twitter as @aussiesmag.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Corporate Lunches: Ways To Get To Know People Well

Corporate Lunches can be the best way to get to know your management as well as your co-workers. Building strong relationships and networking are key to a successful work environment.  Zac Ferry has some ideas on how to get to know people well in this article. 

Team lunches are always exciting. While of course food is partially responsible for the happiness, team lunch at an office party is a great way to get to know people well and build connections. Extending your rapport with the other people in different departments and designation is a great opportunity to understand the different work areas and know how your colleagues work. The rather informal lunch atmosphere will facilitate an easier co-operation.

Putting the work aside, setting an informal ambiance and seating should be the next concern. Well need not worry as there are numerous corporate lunch catering services available for you to choose the best one from. Corporate lunch can be organized for a table of 10 that can typically be for events like a product meeting, an induction or an orientation. Be it company’ success party or birthday/anniversary party, the corporate lunch catering service provider customize their menus to cater for you. In either case, corporate lunch catering services make conveniences as per your choice and requirement.

Here are some corporate lunch catering services you can expect from the catering company:
  • Custom made dishes if you like, as per your taste and liking.
  • Tables and seating arrangements, along with building an overhead to cover the seating area.
  • Standard menu and some unique dishes to your liking, ranging from packed boxes to the buffet system.
  • A simple tea party or a grand function that will best justify your requirement.
  • Interior decorations and cleanliness.
  • Mobile catering service, in case you want this style.

In any case, all you have to do is tell them what you prefer, your choice of food (vegetarian, vegan or non-vegetarian), number of expected people and tables etc. when you roll out a clear specification, you are sure to find the best deals in town. But what should you keep in mind before settling for a particular service?
  • Quality Over Price: do not compromise on the quality. You sure do not want your guest to suffer the next day after consuming the food.
  • Ask for Sample: Taste the food and check for the quality before you finalize. Start with their salads to desserts to see if they satiate your taste buds.
  • Budget: while budget could be a concern, find the best deal within your budget with special focus on quality and the number of items. Some caterers based on a plate and some count per head.
  • Decorations: specify how you want the room to be decorated or just leave it to catering team do the work.
  • Ask: ask for anything specific, like alcohol to be served. Detail these requirements a little early as some caterers do not serve liquor.
  • Lighting and Music: this again is optional to have. But if you are looking for anything specific, detail it to them.

How Is a Corporate Lunch Catering Beneficial for You?
  1. Well, Food: While food could be the major reason for you to attend it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this because your company just wants to pay and serve you back. Go for it.
  2. Rapport Building: Having the lunch with your co-workers gives you the opportunity to build rapport, get to know and to your company staff. This way, you are at an advantageous position to tell them what you are capable of. It can open more work opportunities for you.
  3. Ease of Approach: since the setting is rather informal, it will facilitate better understanding and appreciation of each other’s work.

Corporate lunch catering services are many in number today. When you find the best one, you can reserve this same service even for the next time. The process will only get easier and comfortable.